Partial deconstruction of former NATO road

On many German rivers there are replacement crossings commonly known as “NATO ramps”. These are accessed using wide, paved “Panzerstraßen” (tank roads) built in the 1980s and 1990s in case amphibious vehicles or mobile floating bridges were required to cross the river in the event of war. One such crossing is located within the project area.


As in many other similar locations, this structure provides convenient but unwelcome access into delicate protected areas that should not be entered. Unfortunately, this leads to huge disruption caused by illegal leisure activities. It is common for these “amusements” to get out of hand, leading to instances of campfires igniting fallen trees, tents being pitched and even poaching (setting snares).


As a result, part of the package of measures planned for the Lower Rhine bird sanctuary that our project aims to implement includes the deconstruction of these “Panzerstraßen” to restore calm to these sensitive areas.


In October 2017 the mesure was proceeded by removing the upper, cladded layer from part of the “Panzerstraße”. The resulting trough-shaped structure will be inundated with floodwater and filled with sediment. This nutrient-rich, sludgy sediment will be spontaneously populated with shrubs and grasses, creating a wet, hydrophilous tall herb fringe community (Habitats Directive habitat type 6430). Provided that they are no longer used, the remaining sections of road will then revert to shallow hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities with additional ecological functions by themselves.